South African National Blood Service will use drone technology to deliver blood

South African National Blood Service .jpg

The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) will soon deliver blood using drone technology. The SANBS recently launched its new ‘TRON’ drone at the North Eastern Radio Flyers club in Sandton. The drone is designed to be a faster, cost-effective, and efficient solution to traditional methods like helicopters.

The SANBS CEO Dr. Jonathan Louw said: “We had a discussion with the department of health to discuss how to help people in rural areas, and hence the drone project was born. We believe this will be a milestone in the history of blood transfusion, not only in South Africa but in the entire world.” In addition, the drones are engineered to meet seven criteria:

  • Speed - the aircraft can travel up to 180km/h and as slow as 60km/h so less preparation time is needed before flights can commence.

  • Two-way logistics - the drones are engineered so that they can effectively collect or deliver samples.

  • Physical conditions - the integrity of the blood or sample on board is important. so the drones are designed to ensure that temperatures do not jeopardise its payload.

  • Drone safety - the aircraft is fully autonomous and designed to be able to glide to the ground or deploy a parachute in the event of an emergency.

  • Payload capacity - each drone will be able to carry at least 4 units of blood, a payload weight of around 2kg.

  • Distance - the drones are designed to have sufficient range so they can receive blood from urban hubs.

  • Cost - it’s estimated that a drone flight could cost the SANBS as little as 10 ZAR, a fraction of current alternatives. 

Quantum Systems has partnered with the SANBS, currently conducting tests before launching throughout South Africa once the licensing from the civil aviation authority is approved. To partner with or find out more information about the TRON drone, reach out to SANBS CEO Jonathan Louw via LinkedIn and follow the developments of SANBS on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.